If you didn’t read my story on Jeremy Hollowell and his struggles, you missed that Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said he is considering not starting the forward for the first time this season in Thursday’s game against South Alabama in an attempt to get him out of his slump.
Should Hollowell not start, who might replace him?
I know who Georgia State’s fan would like to see: Malik Benlevi.
Hunter said he might start the freshman, but he then said he doesn’t like to move a freshman in and out of the lineup. He said he thinks that doing that to Jeff Thomas earlier in the season negatively affected him. In the past two games, both starts, he has scored eight and 10 points. Coming off the bench against Arkansas-Little Rock three games ago, he didn’t score at all. It seems that his season is going to continue to yo-yo no matter if he’s starting or coming off the bench. That’s part of the growing pains of a freshman. He is averaging seven points per game.
Ideally, Hunter said would like both freshmen to come off the bench. Of course, Thomas has started the past few games so, following Hunter’s logic, it doesn’t seem likely that he will move Thomas out of the starting lineup, move Benlevi, or have two freshmen in the starting lineup at the same time. But, as I’ve learned, what Hunter says before or after games and what he does during games sometimes don’t match up.
So, assuming that Kevin Ware and Thomas are starters, and that Hollowell isn’t, what might Hunter do with the lineup for Thursday’s game at South Alabama?
Frankly, I would be surprised if Hollowell doesn’t start because there aren’t a lot of players on the roster who can come close to replacing his production.
So, here goes:
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, T.J. Shipes, Isaiah Williams, Markus Crider. This lineup has the potential to score a few points while still being able to play defense.
Crider has a career high of 24 points. Ware has a career high of 21, Shipes 14, Thomas 21 and Williams 26. But it’s too much to expect even one of those players will reach a career high in the next game.
But if Hollowell sits, this is the lineup I think Hunter may go with.
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, Markus Crider, Malik Benlevi and Isaiah Williams. Two freshmen in the starting lineup is an iffy proposition for teams other than Kentucky and Duke. Benlevi has a career high of 10 points and brings a certain expectation of excitement when he enters a game. But he also brings a tendency to commit fouls that show his inexperience. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just part of growing.
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, T.J. Shipes, Malik Benlevi and Isaiah Williams. If Shipes replaces Crider the offense can, but may not, dry up a bit. Shipes is known for defense and rebounding, not scoring. Thomas and Benlevi could score a lot or not at all. Williams is still a bit of an enigma this season who has yet to look comfortable running the offense in his first year doing so. He is averaging 8.1 points with 51 assists and 35 turnovers on the season, but 24 assists and 25 turnovers in conference games.
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, T.J. Shipes, Malik Benlevi and Isaiah Dennis. This is intriguing because this group should be able to turn defense into offense with steals and transition baskets, provided it can force turnovers and/or rebound the other team’s misses. If forced into a half-court offense, this could be hard to watch at times.
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, T.J. Shipes, Isaiah Dennis and Isaiah Williams. A very small lineup.
Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas, Markus Crider, Isaiah Dennis and Isaiah Williams. An even smaller lineup.
Which lineup do you think Hunter will choose to start Thursday’s game? Radio for Thursday night’s game at South Alabama is 1340 AM, 1230 AM and 88.5 FM